By George Anderson
Food retailer sales grew only 1.6 percent last year, according to the Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) Food Marketing Industry Speaks 2003.
FMI Senior Vice President Michael Sansolo said, “Perhaps the most important result in this research is that despite the weak economy, wars, low consumer confidence, food security concerns and fierce competition, many food retailers are finding the strategies to succeed. This shows the resilience and creativity of retailers facing the most daunting challenges.”
Nearly half of retailers (including many independents) surveyed reported posting same-store gains of 3.4 percent or higher.
Independents appear to be doing well in spite of the ups-and-downs of the economy. FMI reports 35.5 percent of independent grocery stores reported sales increases of at least five percent and one in five reported sales were up at least 10 percent.
The survey revealed that independents tend to spend more on in-store staff than the chains. They also produce greater weekly sales per square foot ($11.40) and inventory turns (18 for all items).
Moderator’s Comment: What is your assessment of the
state of food retailing in 2003? What are challenges are facing the chains and
independents? Where are the opportunities to growth?
Being nimble and responsiveness to consumer needs is central
to the strategy of many independents. It costs more to serve shoppers the way
they wish to be treated. It also generates a bigger return. An investment worth
making from our vantage point (particularly when competing on price is a no-win
Anderson – Moderator]